By Nandini Hegde,  Film Production Faculty, Jain Animation School


Gone are the days when we believed that documentaries are a dull and boring account of an incident or a person. In the last 10 years, documentaries have become popular because they have become bolder.  Filmmakers don’t shy away from showing the bitter reality or exposing controversies.

But what happens after these documentaries are made? Does anything change during the course of the documentary or even after it is made? In some cases it does but in many it doesn’t. It is necessary to look at the documentaries that have been able to make a difference.


BORN INTO BROTHELS: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids

Zana Briski was a student of theology at Cambridge University who took up photography as her profession. She wanted to document the problems that women face in India. She was looking at female infanticide, dowry, child marriage etc. But she was not aware of prostitution in India especially in Kolkata. She went to Sonagachi which is the red light district in Kolkata. In many of her interviews she has said that shooting a documentary in Sonagachi was unintended. She felt some kind of a connection with the children living in that area and she began to spend more time with them.

Zana started teaching photography to the children and it turned out to be a learning experience for them and her. In a short span of time, she developed a strong bond with these children and she was determined to help them.

To know how she met them and helped them, you should watch the documentary. One of the kids that Zana met there was Avijit Halder, who is now working as an assistant director in Hollywood.

born into brothels

RAY OF HOPE IN THE DARK ALLEYS: The kids from the red light district – Sonagachi in Kolkata.



BBC DOCUMENTARY: Toughest place to be a taxi driver

What if you are good at a profession in your city/country and you are asked to do the same job in a different country. Will things be very different? In the case of Mason McQueen things changed drastically. Mason is a cabbie in London who had to drive a taxi in the city that never sleeps – Mumbai. The documentary shows Mason’s life in London and then in Mumbai where he meets a taxi driver – Pradeep. Mason has to get used to driving a taxi in Mumbai and he has to change his lifestyle.

Watch the documentary to see the ups and downs in Mason’s life in Mumbai and how he helps his new friend Pradeep.

Toughest Place to Be a Taxi Driver: Mason McQueen gets a taste of being a Mumbai cabbie.

WE SHALL OVERCOME: Mason is determined to drive a taxi and earn a living in Mumbai.